“VCL BUSINESS CLUB” : SOME NEWS FROM FRANCE - WEEK 35

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E.U. Casts Legal Doubt on French Roma Expulsion

The legality of France’s crackdown on Roma migrants was thrown into doubt Wednesday when a report from the European Commission said that French law lacked minimum safeguards required by the European Union to protect deportees.

The document from the European Union’s executive body, obtained by the International Herald Tribune, highlighted failings in France’s law and pointedly declined to endorse the French government’s actions, which have led to thousands of deportations.

The report said that expulsions could be judged legal only if certain conditions were met, including a thorough, case-by-case assessment of each individual’s situation. France was also warned against any measure that singled out a specific ethnic group or amounted to a collective expulsion of Roma.

Though the commission’s analysis was careful not to make any overall judgment on the expulsions, the document suggested that the action might not be in line with E.U. law. Ultimately, France could face legal action if it fails to satisfy the commission that it is obeying European legislation.

The emergence of the document comes after France’s crackdown on unauthorized camps of Roma migrants this summer provoked heavy criticism, both inside the French government and from other countries. The United Nations and immigrant advocacy groups have criticized France for breaking up the camps and returning Roma to Romania and Bulgaria.

The French authorities deported 283 Roma last week, bringing the total number of Romanian and Bulgarian Roma expelled so far this year to 8,313, compared with 7,875 sent home in all of 2009. Some left voluntarily after being given cash payments.

French officials declined to comment on the document, which was prepared for European commissioners but has not been published. Further, technical, discussions between E.U. and French officials are scheduled for Friday.

But on Tuesday, Éric Besson, the French minister for immigration and integration, said that European law had been respected “scrupulously” and that deportations were in line with European rules allowing for the free circulation of citizens within the 27-nation bloc. Those expelled were targeted because they posed a threat to public order, he said after a meeting with European officials in Brussels. “No collective expulsions were undertaken,” he added.

Rob Kushen, executive director of the European Roma Rights Center, said that the emergence of the document, which he had not seen, appeared to vindicate the complaints of advocacy groups. It suggested, he added, “that the French are not abiding by E.U. requirements.”

Described as an interim report, the document criticized France over the way it applied European legislation that was passed in 2004 and is designed to guarantee free movement to the bloc’s citizens.

Each E.U. member state is required to write such laws into its own national legislation, but the way this was done was “not satisfactory” in some countries, including France, said the document, which was signed by three European commissioners: Viviane Reding, Laszlo Andor and Cecilia Malmstrom.

“When deciding about expulsions,” the report said, “the French legislation does not explicitly refer to the obligation of examining all the individual circumstances (e.g. length of stay, age, health, family situation, link to the level of integration in the host Member State).”

The commission is seeking “detailed information from the French authorities on whether and to which extent the safeguards required by the Free Movement Directive have been applied in the recent cases.”

It also wants further information about voluntary repatriations in which those deported received cash payments. The fact that a lump sum is paid out is, according to a preliminary analysis, “not sufficient for taking these returns out of the scope of the E.U.’s free movement principles.”

While the law agreed to in 2004 guarantees the right of E.U. citizens to live in other member nations, those who threaten public order or security can be sent back to their own country.

“It is clear that all individuals who break the law need to face the consequences,” the document said. “It is equally clear that nobody should face expulsion just for being Roma.”

Before deportation there must first be a “case-by-case assessment,” the decision must be in writing, fully justified and open to appeal, and E.U. citizens must be given at least one month to leave.

Roma represent the largest ethnic minority group in the European Union, with a population of 10 million to 12 million in the 27 member nations and those that are potential candidates to join, according the European Commission.

A survey in 2009 found that half of all Roma respondents said they had experienced discrimination in the previous year and that one-fifth said they had been the victim of a racially motivated crime.

Though substantial amounts of money are available from the European Union to help integrate Roma, some eligible countries have no programs.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/02/world/europe/02roma.html?ref=france

 

Change in Champagne bottle ‘could affect taste’

The move by the Champagne industry towards lighter bottles might not sound big deal.

After all, the new bottles are just seven per cent lighter and still made from glass. But it is not inconceivable the change could affect the taste of the wonderful drink.

Wine can be damaged by the actual glass its stored in. There’s the phenomenon known as light strike, by which ultra-violet light causes riboflavin to react with amino acids, and impart a taste of wet wool or cardboard to the wine. That’s why wines and beers are stored in dark bottles. This won’t be an issue, I’m assured by the CIVC, the Champagne trade body, as the bottles remain the same colour.

But other issues come to mind: the finest Champagne has the tiniest bubbles, which give the most delectable, evanescent mousse. Lighter bottles could conceivably affect the pressure under which the Champagne completes its second fermentation in bottle, thereby altering the shape and number of bubbles and changing the mouthfeel.

This is no joke – wine boffins have long been fascinated by the bubbles in fizz, and experiments reported in a US journal last year found that many more aromatic compounds were likely to be present in the bubbles than in the liquid itself.

The real issue here is just how important this change is going to be. By its nature Champagne has to be sealed in something very strong indeed, and up to now glass has been the only choice. But with modern advanced plastic bottles weighing a tenth of a Champagne bottle, when are we going to see the first sparkler in plastic – or super-strength tetra-pak? If Champagne wants to prove to us that its commitment to sustainability is more than lip-service, surely that would be the way forward? For now the industry is committed to glass, but let’s see…

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/foodanddrinknews/7975810/Change-in-Champagne-bottle-could-affect-taste.html

 

Les pays du G20 reconnaissent que la croissance est ralentie

Le G20 a tout de même le sentiment que les inquiétudes des marchés financiers commençaient à s’estomper.

Les pays du G20, réunis en Corée du Sud, s’accordent sur le même diagnostic: la croissance de l’économie mondiale sera durable même si son rythme pourrait être plus lent, a rapporté samedi un délégué sud-coréen.

Kim Jae-chun, gouverneur adjoint de la Banque centrale de Corée du Sud qui coprésidait la rencontre de Gwangju, a également déclaré à la presse que le G20 avait le sentiment que les inquiétudes des marchés financiers commençaient à s’estomper.

“Il y a un accord sur le fait que la reprise va continuer même si son rythme pourrait se ralentir par rapport à nos anticipations d’il y a deux ou trois mois”, a-t-il dit.

Participaient à la réunion de Gwangju les adjoints des ministres des Finances et gouverneurs des Banques centrales des pays du G20, groupe réunissant pays riches et émergents.

Les échanges ont également porté sur un rééquilibrage de la représentation des économies au sein du conseil des gouverneurs du Fonds monétaire international, a rapporté un autre participant qui s’exprimait sous couvert d’anonymat.

Les membres du G20 se sont engagés à obtenir d’ici le sommet de Séoul, en novembre, un accord sur la question lancinante de la répartition des droits de vote au FMI, mais le premier directeur adjoint du Fonds, John Lipsky, s’est refusé samedi à tout commentaire.

L’idée est de modifier la composition du conseil des gouverneurs du FMI afin de refléter les nouveaux équilibres économiques de la planète. Mais les différentes propositions avancées se heurtent aux réticences des Européens, qui redoutent de voir leur influence réduite.

“Tout le monde travaille très durement sur cette question”, a dit Jean-Pierre Landau, gouverneur adjoint de la Banque de France.

http://www.latribune.fr/actualites/economie/international/20100904trib000545519/les-pays-du-g20-reconnaissent-que-la-croissance-est-ralentie.html

 

Près d’un site de voyages sur quatre contrevient à la loi

Un quart des sites internet de voyages contrôlés cet été par la DGCCRF se sont avérés plus ou moins trompeurs pour le consommateur. Hervé Novelli annonce une “tolérance zéro”.

Sur les  449 sites internet de voyages contrôlés cet été par la la DGCCRF (Direction générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la repression des fraudes), 98 n’étaient pas en totale conformité avec la loi.

Le secrétaire d’Etat au Tourisme et à la Consommation, Hervé Novelli, a déclaré mercredi que l’Etat pratiquera une “tolérance zéro” vis-à-vis des pratiques trompeuses émanant de ces sites internet proposant des vacances à prix cassés.

 “L’Etat ne tolèrera pas la poursuite des pratiques trompeuses”, a affirmé le secrétaire d’Etat en présentant le bilan de l’opération interministérielle vacances pilotée par la DGCCRF dans le cadre du bilan de l’été touristique 2010. L’objectif de cette opération est de lutter contre les pratiques déloyales, les abus ou les infractions à l’égard des estivants. Un Français sur 2 s’adresse aux sites de vacances pas chères pour partir. Mais “très souvent l’affichage ne reflète pas la réalité”, a résumé le secrétaire d’Etat. Il a promis de renforcer les contrôles de ces sites à la Toussaint et à Noël.

 Des infractions “significatives” ont été constatées également dans le domaine de l’écotourisme et du tourisme vert, avec des provenances sur des produits révélant encore trop fréquemment des allégations valorisantes non justifiées (des galettes de Pont-Aven pas franchement de la région, un stand “bio” sur un marché alsacien vendait du Bleu d’Auvergne pour de la Fourme d’Ambert). Ces vérifications ont donné lieu à 350 rappels à la loi et 43 procès-verbaux.

http://www.lexpansion.com/economie/actualite-high-tech/pres-d-un-site-de-voyages-sur-quatre-contrevient-a-la-loi_238297.html#XTOR=EPR-175

 

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